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Facilitating mission in British Methodist churches: lessons from historical and contemporary models

Worsnop, Paul J (2000) Facilitating mission in British Methodist churches: lessons from historical and contemporary models. Masters thesis, Durham University.



The recent rapid decline and current ageing membership of British Methodism has given rise to questions as to whether it has a viable future. If recent trends are to be arrested and reversed local Methodist churches need to become more committed to mission. Modern secularised society presents both difficulties and opportunities for mission and these need to be grappled with if effective mission paradigms are to be developed. In doing this, the 'Epworth Quadrilateral' of Scripture, Tradition, Experience and Reason provides a useful framework. The history of Methodism provides useful lessons and models for mission which can be built upon for churches today. A detailed analysis of the churches and communities they serve in one Methodist circuit demonstrates a variety of attitudes and approaches towards mission and points towards the identification of three ideal types - the remnant church, the institutional church and the mission-minded church. If mission is to be taken seriously, churches need to exhibit mission-minded attitudes and characteristics rather than remnant or institutional ones. Scripture, through the gospels and the early church, provides useful indicators for key characteristics of mission-minded Christian communities. In recent times cell churches, the 'Willow Creek' approach of seeker style services, the AIpha/Emmaus models of Christian catechumen ate and serious commitment to social care and action have all been effective in facilitating mission in certain circumstances. A critical analysis and synthesis of all these models and approaches enable some key characteristics of ideal type mission-minded churches to be put forward. The adoption of such a mission-minded approach will have implications for both the organisation and nature of ministry in the Methodist Church. Each local church will have to discern the best approach to mission in its local situation, but to be effective it will exhibit to some extent all the key characteristics identified.

Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Award:Master of Arts
Thesis Date:2000
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:01 Aug 2012 11:41

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